Breast cancer among women is the second most diagnosed cancer after skin cancer. It is the second major cause of death after lung cancer.
Men, just like women can develop breast cancer, but the occurrence in men is less than a percent.
A breast mass or lump in most cases is usually one of the noticeable signs of breast cancer.
Breast cancer in its early stages might not show any symptoms, but if it does, this varies from person to person.
Your doctor can detect a mass with the use of a mammogram. Screening for breast cancer can enable your doctor to detect this condition early when it can easily get treated.
Keep reading to know some of the most common symptoms of breast cancer.
Symptoms of Breast Cancer
Nipple’s discharge could indicate an early sign of breast cancer, especially if you aren’t breastfeeding, and it is from only one of your breasts. Many things that include the following and more could cause nipple’s discharge:
- Birth control pills
- Trauma or injury to the breast
- Endocrine disorders
- Excessive breast stimulation
- Pregnancy and breast-feeding
- Changes in the hormones during menstrual cycles
- Mammary duct ectasia
- Periductal mastitis
Lymph node changes
Lymph nodes carry fluids and cells throughout the body. Swollen lymph nodes in most cases are caused by diseases or infections that attack your immune system.
In most cases, they are always close to the area infected. Swollen lymph nodes in your armpit could be a symptom of breast cancer.
Swollen lymph nodes of ½ inch or bigger aren’t normal especially if accompanied by signs that include:
- Night sweating
- Difficulty in swallowing or breathing
- Unexplainable weight loss
Many things other than breast cancer that include fat necrosis could also cause dimpling.
Dimpling known also as peau d’orange is a condition that causes your skin to appear like the pitting and irregular skin of an orange. It could also make the skin red and inflamed.
If you observe dimpling on both breasts, it is not a symptom of breast cancer. Dimpling, as a symptom of breast cancer only affects one breast.
Changes in the skin’s texture
Breast cancer can result in inflammation and changes in skin cells that can cause texture changes in and around your breast area.
Texture changes that include eczema and dermatitis could occur as a result of benign skin conditions. Some examples of skin texture changes include:
- Thickening of the breast skin
- Scaly skin around the areola and nipple, as if the skin is awfully dry or sunburned.
This may also result in itching or irritated breast, which some people consider as a symptom of breast cancer.
Nipple’s inversion or retraction
10 to 20% of women have inverted nipples. Nipple’s variation that includes retracted nipples and inverted nipples can be inborn, but this becomes a breast cancer concern if it affects only one breast.
You should talk to your doctor if you were born with an inverted nipple that used to be elevated but suddenly become flattened.
Nipple or breast pain
Intense pain in one of your breasts, possibly with some tenderness could make you feel something serious might have happened to your breast.
- Breast cysts
- Some birth control pills
- The fluctuation of hormones due to menstruation
- Some infertility treatments
- A bra that doesn’t fit well
- Large breasts, which could result in back, shoulder, or neck pain
Breast cancer hardly shows any symptoms in its early stages, even though the cancer cells are growing in it.
However, in its later stages, some people experience swelling in the breast and under their arm.
Swelling in your breast or under the arm may be a symptom of breast cancer. Breast cancer can result in the swelling of the entire breast or an area of your breast.
Redness of the breast often most often are symptoms of skin conditions that include rash, eczema, bites, and more.
That said, it could also be a visual symptom of breast cancer. Red-spots on the breasts are a well-known feature of inflammatory breast cancer (IBC), which is an uncommon but invasive form of breast cancer.
In the U.S., cancers due to IBC contributes to close to 10% of deaths from breast cancer.
Must Read: How to Prevent Breast Cancer
Breast cancer in its advanced stages isn’t curable; being able to detect the symptoms early and getting treatment increases your chances of beating the disease.